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10 July 2012 @ 02:45 pm
So, where I've been the past three months...  
Well, I happened to get a job.

When I got said job, I assumed the usual: 40 hours a week, a bit of a commute (an hour and a halfish, since said job is in DC and I currently do not live in DC) but just the usual--go to work, come home, get paid, etc.

I...didn't quite expect this job to take over my life. I actually didn't expect to stay with this job for as long as I have. (Prepare for tl;dr, because apparently this is to become a chapter in my autobiography whenever I go to complete that opus) 

You see, back in April, I was tight on cash, and with getting in to Grad school and all, I kind of needed money to pay for eventual student loans. So I spam applied for everything I could find and hoped for the best.

One of the very, very few places that actually called back was this company I had never heard of with the word "Green" in its title (no real name for you guys because not everything I say about them is flattering). Being of a deductive mind, I assumed they were one of those environmentalist corporations that helped businesses/homes/people go green or something of that sort. That, and the fact that their mission statement was written under their logo tipped me off. 

I'm not a crazy environmentalist, but I'm not adverse to the cause either, so I decided I'd check it out. Of course, I probably should've checked out the website before I agreed to go to an interview...

Or at least, bothered to look up what the term "canvassing" meant... (insert raised eyebrows here for those of you that know what it means). 

So, I go to this interview. Because I was lazy, I assumed they were hiring for perhaps office work or something...

Well, as it turns out, doing your research before you go to the interview is a good thing to do. This "office" was actually a room in a shared townhouse. Not even a full room. Like, half a room. Two out of the four tables in a shared living room. This townhouse/office is actually split between three separate organizations--two bathrooms, a kitchen, and an upstairs board room thingy (just a big huge table and chairs shoved in what once was a small bedroom for meetings and such) are shared space, with a huge room on the bottom floor split between all three, and a small room upstairs taken by whoever pays for it usually (when I first got there, it was owned by someone else, now we own it). 

The building itself looks more like a place students would live than a place where three organizations are crammed in, but there you are. As for office employees, our company has 10 people who work in the office full time--just ten, its all they need. 

But, as I mentioned, I was not hired to do the office work. I was hired for this mysterious job position of canvasser, and I shall now explain why I really should've looked this word up before I applied--

You see, our company likes to pretend its a nonprofit when it really isn't. We help local DC businesses go green, like switching them to wind or solar energy (in DC and MD, you can request on your energy bill that your money goes to supporting the wind and solar energy that's being put into the grid), switching restaurants to local, organic produce and meat (easy, there are a ton of organic farms in MD), helping take out places switch to biodegradable cups, silverware, etc...

Then, after that's done, they become one of our endorsed partners, and we try to get them customers. So, we do that by offering discounts to our members to the businesses we've helped.

Where does my job come in? Well, we have to make money to continue to change businesses somehow, and those members have to come from somewhere. So my job--the job of a person who, I might add, has a bit of a hatred for people after years in retail--is to get those members and money. By going out on the street, with a clipboard, and asking people if they support green businesses, then they should totally give us money.

No, seriously. You ever seen those of the Clipboard Brigade for nonprofits like Planned Parenthood or the HRC out on the street asking for money? We do the same thing. Except we aren't a nonprofit (you can't be when you support for-profit businesses. We operate like one, but no tax deductions for you if you give us money) and we're not asking for donations, we ask that people give us money and in return become a member with us, eligible for those discounts at all of the businesses we support. 

And I am one of the crew that goes out, stands on my feet for six hours, has to smile, and ask every single person that walks by if they support this.

The strangest thing about all of this? For some reason, I actually enjoy it.

Crazy, I know. I hated the soul-sucking world that was retail due to the constant proximity to stupid people. Yet here I am, talking to even more people, willingly, and yet I enjoy it. I have no clue why I do. And even stranger than this? For some reason, I am really, really good at it.

I didn't think I would be. On your first day, getting handed a clipboard and being told to go out and make $100 in donations seems daunting. But for the most part, I'm bringing home that and more usually. For us, they want us to make $20 an hour. My average this week is $44 an hour (it was higher, but it got ruined by how dismal yesterday was--only made $17 an hour). Which is really strange to me--every day I go out, prepare myself for the task of making $100 or so, and hoping I can do it. I keep a tally, and always try to not worry about it--every day you do well is a safety net for a day you do bad--but then I usually come back with way higher than I expected. 

Up until yesterday (I never do well in that spot. NEVER.) I had brought back at least $200 for four days in a row. So yeah, suffice to say, for this job I thought I'd hate, I'm pretty darn good at it.

Which is why, about three weeks into my job, they promoted me. I should note that at that time, I wasn't as good as I was now. I made quota more often than not, but my weekly average was $21 an hour or so--not much more than we were expected to get. But at the time (back in early May) a lot of our canvassing employees were leaving (we had about 15, we were down to maybe 7 then) and they really needed supervisors for shifts. So I got promoted. 

And then I was shift supervisor. All that really means is, you haul the clipboards and stuff to turf and back, you count up the money at the end of the shift, etc--your job doesn't change, you're just the one responsible for the money now. You also get paid like a dollar more.

(Which, I should mention, our pay isn't great--if you suck at your job. We get paid an hourly rate and then you get a bonus if you, on average, make over quota for the week. My weekly average of $44 an hour will net me a nice fat bonus as long as I can keep it up until the pay period is over. The bonus is determined by how much you make over that $20, so it encourages us to do awesome). 

So I was shift supervisor for a while, and that was all well and good--until near the end of June. My direct boss is the Campaign Director--she is in charge of all of us, does the schedule, hires people, trains people, etc. Basically, she lives at the office and answers her phone about twenty times on a slow day. I'm not even sure if "lives at the office" is an exaggeration--she was still there at Midnight last night according to the google doc schedule I was looking at, and there is a shower in our office (it was once a home, after all) and she admits she keeps shampoo and a towel and even spare clothes in there. 

She also has an assistant that handles everything she's not currently working on--mostly schedule and training, I don't think she hires people. But said assistant has been in Spain since early June and isn't coming back until near the end of July. 

So, my boss, for some reason, has decided I'm her surrogate assistant until her real one comes back. She's called/talked to me about how to do the schedule before, asked me to train people, asked me for my opinion on whether we should keep certain people, and other matters.

So, somewhere in all of this, more of my life is spent in DC at my job now than at home. No, really--I'll leave my house sometimes at like 9:00 am (our shifts start at 11:30) and not get back until 10:30pm or later. The past two weeks, I've had one day off (today is my one day--whee) and spent the rest working or training people at the office. Also, uncomfortable as it is, being the boss's right hand leads you into all sorts of intrigue--twice now I've had to work with somewhere where I heard the boss say the night before they were probably going to be let go, which led to awkwardness on my part. I also know which people the boss has said specifically will NEVER be made shift supervisors, so whenever I work with those people and they express hope for one day getting paid a whole dollar more, I just awkwardly laugh and tell them to wait and work hard and see what happens. 

So now, here's the thing; the assistant director that I am currently assuming the role for is in Spain, because her boyfriend is originally from Spain. And she did mention she was considering moving to Spain after the summer was over...so me and a few other of the supervisors have speculated (at our super-secret supervisor meetings at the bar with the $3 frozen lemonade margaritas) that maybe I'm not just taking up the assistant's role just for now. Maybe my boss is kind of planning for the future, should her assistant move to Spain. 

And I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. I mean, canvassing jobs here have a high turnover--some people don't like it, others suck so bad that we can't keep them, etc--but there are at least two other candidates that I feel would be better at it than me. I've discussed it with both (over $3 frozen lemonade margaritas, of course--its our favorite bar for a reason) one of them, a guy who has been working with the company for a year has known the ropes for ages--he's the one who trained me! But he claims he doesn't want responsibility and he likes having two days off a week instead of one. The other is a girl who was hired around the same time I was, but she's way better at this than I am. She makes on average $300 a shift, making my average of $200 look sad. But she claims she's quitting at the end of the summer either way, because she's going to Boston for grad school.

So there it lies. Those other two who join me on my margarita outings say its not just me that thinks the boss is training me to be assistant director--the boss has even commented that right now I'm her right hand and told newbies that I'm "one of the best here" (true, but I am modest about it because of $300 girl making me look bad every time I work my ass off to bring home $200). She's also said that I am going to be in the office training new people more often these days so...yeah.

So I went into this job expecting to make maybe $8 an hour, and quit at the end of the summer, and now...yeah. When I recount it, I'm not sure how it even got to this point. Somehow I was good at getting people on the street to give me money and it escalated from there.

Now I know I'm probably not quitting at the end of the summer, and off the assistant director does leave and my boss elevates me to that glorious position...I have no clue. My social life is already over, but my rapidly shrinking internet and video game life will be over as well. 

So, tl;dr: THAT is where I've been for the past three months. 
Current Mood: busybusy
cornerofmadnesscornerofmadness on July 10th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
very interesting. best of luck whatever happens
Kitinulovinkit on July 12th, 2012 03:09 am (UTC)
Thanks. My boss hinted today that my new responsibilities of training newbies will extend beyond the time her assistant returns...so yeah. D:

I had to be at the office today at 10am for training for me (every time your numbers slip, they pull you in to see why; I just had an issue where I was sounding to pitchy instead of natural) then two and a half hour of training a newbie (this new person won't last a week) then a three hour shift out on turf with said newbie (correction: he won't last three days) then a tele-meeting with my boss once I got home.

In short: I don't expect to have much free time ever again.
cornerofmadnesscornerofmadness on July 12th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
i know how that goes. good luck
syolen: EdWin-heartsyolen on July 11th, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
Funny how things work out. I guess the most important thing is that you like it? Good pay is a nice bonus too. ^^ I hope you can find the best compromise between work/free time/school. Best of luck! :)
Kitinulovinkit on July 12th, 2012 03:11 am (UTC)
Thanks! Today I talked to someone for thirty minutes about why they should totally give me money, but it was in a more playful, almost flirtatious conversation. He eventually did give me money. Most fun I ever had in asking someone for twenty five bucks.

Oh, I don't know what free time is anymore. My next day off is next monday. Because I asked my boss for a day I could go to the bank. I usually am working/commuting during normal bank hours. >.>